Bristol unification referendum hits snag

A Circuit Court judge has rejected the village of Bristol’s bid to have a referendum in April on annexing the entire town based on a error in  legal description included in the petition.

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But the village intends to fix the error and refile the request, said Randy Kerkman, village/town administrator. However, the need to refile means the process will not be completed in time to piggy back the referendum onto the April 6 Spring Election. Instead the town will need to schedule a special election, probably sometime this summer.

The village had petitioned the court to set the date in January. The goal was to give the town of Bristol an opportunity to join the village of Bristol — the former northwest portion of the town — as one municipal entity. The village incorporated Dec. 1, 2009.

The referendum is an especially good way to settle the issue of unifying the town and village as one municipality because town residents will be able to vote, Kerkman said.

“The bottom line is we want people heard,” Kerkman said. “People want to vote on this.”

The mass annexation bid also has drawn the attention of neighboring communities with which the town has border agreements.

Kenosha is pursing a change in state law that it feels would better protect the city’s interest for properties that are supposed to eventually become part of the city. Both Bristols recently passed resolutions supporting the change.

Pleasant Prairie has threatened legal action to stop the annexation of land by the village of Bristol  that under the boundary agreement  is designated to eventually come into Pleasant Prairie.

Bristol officials say they feel the objections of  Pleasant Prairie and Kenosha are unfounded because the village will still be bound by the provisions of the boundary agreements.


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